By Jennifer Bacarella, Executive Management, Director of Firm Development
We have a real need for more female financial advisors in our industry. In fact, women only make up about 17%* of the financial advisor population. One of my goals, as both an executive of a broker-dealer and a financial advisor myself, is to increase that number. The big question: HOW? I may not have all the answers, but as an InvestmentNews “Woman to Watch,” I have high expectations – and I believe these tips will help meet this goal.
Tip 1 – Offer Flexibility
Being a woman in today’s world should not mean neglecting one passion in your life over another. While there are only so many hours in a day, many women know how to use those hours to their advantage if given the opportunity. Flexibility in time scheduling is paramount. As women raise their own families, they need to attend those important events in their families’ lives…no questions asked. I don’t ask for pre-scheduled time off from my team. I choose to trust my staff to handle their work-life balance appropriately.
Tip 2 – Education is Key
In building our broker-dealer, we chose to offer educational assistance to staff. Many women, and men as well, interrupt their education to begin careers and families. At our firm, we encourage employees to complete their degrees, attend graduate school, attain licensures, achieve designations, and we pay for all of these things and take pride in their personal advancement. These approaches help drive motivation, improve work ethic, and solidify loyalty.
Tip 3 – Allow Remote Work Opportunities
My personal goal is to keep my “mom-game,” my “work-game,” and my “play-game” all at a high level. While that takes some creative scheduling, I have found it all possible…and, in fact, required. We need to keep the big picture in mind. Work may need to occur after hours, in doctor’s office waiting rooms, during halftime in the stands, on weekends. Use technology to your advantage. Install a robust VPN at your office so you can securely work from remote locations.
Tip 4 – Model this Behavior
Modeling this behavior can show incoming women financial advisors that they can accomplish work-life balance. Take those vacations when you have the chance to turn everything else off and focus on your family. Pay attention and listen to your children, your spouse, as well as your staff. Develop your empathy and allow your staff to practice work-life balance as you do. Doing so effectively models your behavior not only for your employees but for your children, as well…showing them how all of the competing priorities in life can be accomplished when we always stop to recognize the most valuable moments and truly live them to the fullest.
Tip 5 – Be a Mentor
The best way to attract a person to anything is by mentoring them. Reach out to local high schools and colleges to see if there are young females interested in the industry. Take them under your wing and show them how awesome this industry can be – because it is an amazing industry. Show women that they can be their own boss, get an education, raise a family, and still have fun by following in your footsteps. Be a resource for these young women – and we will see that 17% grow.
I have not found a perfect way…I continually seek new ideas and techniques for achieving a way that works for my business, my family, and me. I hope that my dedication to work-life balance spreads throughout our firm and our independent field force, and particularly encourages women to embrace the industry. I see you out there…you can do it, too!
Jennifer Bacarella is an Executive Manager for the group of affiliated firms consisting of Sigma Financial Corporation, Parkland Securities, LLC, and Sigma Planning Corporation. As a member of the firms’ Executive Committee, Jenny provides leadership and vision in their overall management and operations. Jenny is also Director, Firm Development, responsible for expanding and maintaining the firms’ relationships with independent financial advisors. Since joining Sigma Financial Corporation in 1994, she has taken a proactive relationship manager role, allowing her to interact with the firms’ most successful advisors in their businesses and in their lives. Her high-touch approach has created firms with some of the lowest advisor turnover ratios in the industry. Jenny’s personal interaction and attention to detail confirms for advisors that they have direct access to a member of the firms’ Executive Committee. Her efforts and leadership are carried throughout the firms by the management team and staff. Jenny is a member of NAIFA, WIFS, the FPA, and the FSP.
Sigma Financial Corporation and Parkland Securities, LLC are broker-dealers, members FINRA/SIPC. Sigma Planning Corporation is a registered investment advisor.
For Professional Use Only. Not For Public Use.